I grew up under religion. It almost ended any chance of finding God. Religion is a treadmill of performance with ever increasing speed and inclination. My journey toward God was one of stepping off of the treadmill – no easy task. When I finally discovered that God wanted a relationship with me more than simply good behavior, I was set free to actually know Him. This, of course, changed everything, not the least of which was my understanding of our faith.
The great truth that sets our faith apart from all the other religions of the world is that our faith is really nothing more than a relationship with perfect love. After much Bible study I put together a series of messages entitled “Relationship Not Religion”. I had many opportunities to teach these messages at conferences all over the world [an undeserved privilege]. Someone would always say, “You need to put this in a book”. I would say, “yes, I have heard that before” and then put the idea of writing a book out of my mind [as fast as I could].
Many years of “writing avoidance syndrome” followed during which time I received several prophecies about writing a book. Avoiding the issue became difficult until my wife got on the bandwagon, then it was impossible. She has been described as a Terrier – one of those cute little dogs that takes hold of your pant leg and never lets go. Such was her dedication to seeing my conference material turned into a book.
One day 5 years ago, she came to me and asked me, “if I transcribe all of your seminar materials into a word document will you turn it into a book?” Foolishly I decided to say yes, believing that she would never complete the task. She did. I thought it would be easy to turn the spoken word into the written word – what a fool! The book, like gas in a vacuum, expanded to fill the container.
As I wrote about God’s grace from a theological perspective I kept being interrupted by memories of God’s intrusions of love into my self-focused life. What started out as theology quickly became the story of one man’s journey toward love. The book had a problem, it was written in two “voices”. One was the teacher and the other was the seeker. This problem seemed fatal and so I put the book in the closet for 4 years.
More book writing prophecies followed and walking was difficult with the Terrier still attached to my pant leg. I gave in to God and my wife [sometimes I cannot tell the difference] and fixed the problem of the two “voices”. The book is now complete, it will come out in print this fall.
The pre-release reviews I have received are far more positive than anything I expected or hoped for. Isn’t God good? The review I value most is one in which the writer [who is also a writer] said she felt the presence of God as she read the book. What more can I ask or hope for? Well, one other thing. Everyone has said that they laughed allot! That makes me so happy! There is a wake of changed lives behind the truth contained in the book. I pray you will be a part of that.
Join me for the pre-release book discussion group starting September 16th for 8 weeks. Feel free to print a few flyers to give to some friends. Great for those wondering about Christianity or even those who know their faith but would like more words to express why we believe it is a relationship not a religion.
Way to go let me know when I can buy a copy. In Christ your brother
HI Fred, great to hear from you! The release date for the book is Oct.4th. We will be taking orders to ship the books after that. I believe it will be available as well as an Ebook. Details to follow. Give the kids my love!
Mark I am so thankful that you are publishing your book on “Is God Religious.” Your writing ignites a passion for a deep relationship with Jesus instead being rule driven. The church many times gives people accolades when they follow the church rules and get approval from men. Many encourage pleasing men and the religious community over following the leading of the Holy Spirit. You make it really clear that it’s all about pleasing the Lord and spending time with Him so we can truly feel how much He loves us. This is especially important to me because I was raised as a Jew and have a propensity to be perfectionist. Your transparency about your life truly inspires me to want to go deeper in my relationship with the Lord. You make it clear that we will miss the greatest gift of all and block God’s enormous love for us if we are caught in the trap of following legalistic rules instead of a meaningful relationship with Jesus! I’m really looking forward to taking your class and will be encouraging all of my friends to be a part of it too. Thank you so much Mark for having the courage to publish your book! Thank you Shell for encouraging Mark to follow through on his dream. The world will be blessed!
Thank you for your great encouragement and constant prayer support!